Tortoise brought a rare two-week tour to a close last Saturday in front of a sold-out hometown crowd in Chicago. Often just gigging sparingly, the time on the road had the band sounding as tight and cohesive as I’ve ever seen them, playing a masterful set that spanned their entire career.
Since entering my musical world a few years ago, I can’t think of another band more consistently in my listening rotation. Each record has carved its own place, being called on at specific times to serve their purpose. Intensely structured yet free flowing, Tortoise builds sonic soundscapes that are as dynamic or passive as you – the listener – choose to hear them. Genre-busting and wholly unique, Tortoise have been semi-quietly making some of the best and most influential records of the last 15 years.
As impressive as the records are, Tortoise is a band that needs to be seen live to fully grasp. It’s easy to get lost in their world of shape-shifting studio madness, but to see the same material performed by five dudes in front of your face is truly a whole other experience. The songs come alive, each section grabbing you and dragging you along as it twists and turns before seamlessly flows into whatever is next.
READ ON for more of Joel’s thoughts and pictures…
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